David Montgomery Out as Phillies President

Philadelphia Phillies new general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. center, is flanked by outgoing GM Pat Gillick, left, and club president Dave Montgomery, right, duirng a news conference in Philadelphia Monday November 3, 2008. (AP Photo/ Joseph Kaczmarek)

Philadelphia Phillies new general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. center, is flanked by outgoing GM Pat Gillick, left, and club president Dave Montgomery, right, duirng a news conference in Philadelphia Monday November 3, 2008. (AP Photo/ Joseph Kaczmarek)

The Phillies announced today that David Montgomery has returned to the team as chairman. Pat Gillick, who had been interim president in Montgomery’s absence, will now assume the job full-time. Montgomery took a leave of absence this summer while recovering from cancer surgery. Bill Giles moves from chairman to chairman emeritus.

Although Gillick has had the interim removed from his designation as Phillies president, the team says he is only staying on as president “in the short term.”

“I am fortunate to be healthy enough now to resume some of my previous responsibilities,” Montgomery said in a statement. “I am very appreciative that Pat Gillick is willing and available to remain as the club’s President.”

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Werth, Utley Compete to be “Face of MLB”

It’s been awhile since Jayson Werth and his beautiful, beautiful beard belonged to Philadelphia — his was one high-priced contract for a World Series vet that Ruben Amaro Jr. managed to avoid signing the last few years. Still, he was part of that ’08 championship team, and even if he plays for a division rival — the Washington Nationals — there’s some lingering love for him here.

So it feels like the folks at MLB.com were being a bit mean, perhaps, by pitting Werth against still-here Chase Utley in the first round of its “Face of the MLB” contest:

face of mlb
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Where and When Will the Phillies Trade Cole Hamels?

Phillies starting pitcher Cole Hamels. Photo | Eileen Blass-USA TODAY Sports

Phillies starting pitcher Cole Hamels. Photo | Eileen Blass-USA TODAY Sports

They call it the hot stove league. “They” meaning “baseball media and fans.” As Wikipedia helpfully notes in delightfully awkward prose, “The phrase does not denote an actual league, but instead calls up images of baseball fans gathering around a hot stove during the cold winter months, discussing their favorite baseball teams and players.”

And fans in Philadelphia are dealing with chilly temperatures by gathering around the hot stove and talking about Cole Hamels. Phillies fans with weak hearts may want to stop reading now if they don’t already know: The Phillies are trying to trade Hamels.

In a report on CSN Philly, longtime Phillies beat writer Jim Salisbury says they are in “staredowns” with several clubs, naming the Cardinals, Padres, Rangers and Red Sox. He adds he doesn’t expect the trade to come soon, saying it will be delayed until the “warmer months.”

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Jeffrey Lurie Enters Competition for Philadelphia’s Worst Sports Owner

Photo by: Jeff Fusco.

Photo by: Jeff Fusco.

In case you haven’t noticed, Philadelphia has a sports team ownership problem.

It took last week’s Eagles front office fiasco to get me thinking about this. And the Eagles are the one viable team in this town right now.

Jeffrey Lurie has now owned the Eagles for 20 years. Not only is there no championship of which to speak, but now I’m very leery of the direction this owner provides towards that end. When confronted with in-house bickering of his lieutenants, Lurie caved like a pre-fab house in a stiff wind. His anointing of Chip Kelly as the main architect of the franchise and demotion of Howie Roseman from general manager to vice president of shoulder pads, or some such thing, was not exactly generalship. It was a panic move from a weak leader.
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Hall of Famer Pedro Martinez Wasn’t a Phillie for Long, But He Made an Impact

Philadelphia Phillies pitcher Pedro Martinez (45) greets second baseman Chase Utley (26) in the dugout prior to the game against the Colorado Rockies at Citizens Bank Park in August of 2009.

Philadelphia Phillies pitcher Pedro Martinez (45) greets second baseman Chase Utley (26) in the dugout prior to the game against the Colorado Rockies at Citizens Bank Park in August of 2009.

Pedro Martinez was on the mound. There was a runner on second. The Mets were a hit away from tying the game. And Charlie Manuel was headed out of the dugout.

It was 2009. The Phillies manager had a brief conversation with Martinez, then walked back to the dugout. Martinez would be staying in. The fans roared. Two pitches later, Daniel Murphy was caught trying to advance to third on a ball in the dirt. Martinez was out of the inning. Fans screamed. “The stadium shook that night,” the Daily News’ David Murphy wrote, “the air reverberating with the collective energy of 42,000 people realizing that they were witnessing somebody do the something that makes them special.”

It turns out Martinez didn’t need to plead much with Manuel on the mound. “I was keeping him in anyway,” Manuel said. “I had to see what he was going to say.” Ryan Madson pitched a scoreless ninth and the Phillies beat the Mets, 1-0. Martinez got the win after throwing 130 pitches over 8 innings. He struck out seven. It was his best game as a Phillie. It was his last win in baseball.

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Rebuilding Phillies Sign 36-Year-Old Pitcher, Give Him Roy Halladay’s Number

The Philadelphia Phillies announced today they signed right-handed starting pitcher Aaron Harang to a one-year contract worth $5 million. He will wear 34, Roy Halladay’s old number.

“Aaron brings a wealth of experience and durability to our rotation,” General Manager Ruben Amaro said in a release. “He had a very solid season for the Braves last year and will complement the left-handers in our rotation nicely.”

Harang will be in his 14th season next year, having pitched previously for seven major league teams. With Atlanta last year, Harang went 12-12 with a 3.57 ERA. That put him at about league average, which he’s been for his career as well. In 358 games, he’s 122-128 with a 4.21 ERA.

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Top 28 Philadelphia Sports GIFs of the Year

It was not a good year for Philadelphia sports. The Eagles lost a playoff game a few days into the new year, and the only other Philadelphia team to make the playoffs was the Flyers — who lost in the first round. This fall’s Eagles started 9-3 and missed the playoffs, the Sixers gutted their roster intentionally in order to be bad and the Union missed a wide open net in the final minutes and lost in extra time of the U.S. Open Cup. And the Wings moved and became the New England Black Wolves! Ugh.

But it was a good year for sports GIFs. One was Twitter’s introduction of inline GIFs in tweets. Never before was it so easy (for me, at least) to share stupid little sports moments with the world instantly. It became so easy to share GIFs one of mine was retweeted an obscene amount of times.

The Buccaneers’ Danny Lansanah preventing the Steelers Le’Veon Bell from making a first down gesture was undoubtedly the sports GIF of the year. But there’s no way to connect this to Philadelphia — Lansanah went to Harrisburg, which as close as I can get it — so it will have to remain outside the scope of this column.

Despite the bad year for Philadelphia sports, there was no shortage of great sports GIFs. If this sounds familiar, it’s pretty much the same spiel I did in 2012, when I last did this feature. It has not been a great few years for Philly sports. But the GIFs this year were, perhaps, better than ever. Presenting the best ones I made in 2014.

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Jimmy Rollins Officially Traded to the Dodgers

More than a week after it was first reported, the trade is finally official: Jimmy Rollins has been traded to the Los Angeles Dodgers. The Phillies received two pitching prospects, righthander Zach Eflin and lefthander Tom Windle, in the deal.

The possible snag in the trade — a holdup in the deal where the Dodgers would trade Matt Kemp and other players to the Padres for Eflin — was completed last night.

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The Jimmy Rollins Trade May Need to Be Reworked

We were all sad when reports surfaced last week that the Phillies would be trading Jimmy Rollins to the Dodgers. We even mourned him in animated GIF format!

But it’s now been a week. And the trade hasn’t gone through yet. In the deal, the Phillies would send Rollins to the Dodgers for two minor league pitchers, Zach Eflin and Tom Windle.

The holdup is due to a related Dodgers-Padres trade the teams are attempting to finalize. The Dodgers don’t actually have Zach Eflin yet; he’s on the Padres. Those two teams are attempting to complete a deal that would send the Dodgers’ Matt Kemp (as well as catcher Tim Federowicz and a cool $32 million) to the Padres for Elfin, catcher Yasmani Grandal pitching prospect Joe Wieland.

So many names! But why the hold up? Before trades can be consummated, players have to take physicals. Today, USA Today’s Bob Nightengale reports the Padres are concerned with Kemp’s health: A medical exam found evidence of two severely arthritic hips.

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WATCH: Chase Utley Surprises Fan With Cancer On Ellen

Philadelphia Phillies second baseman Chase Utley stopped by the Ellen show recently to surprise a 23-year-old superfan with cancer.

Julie Kramer had no idea what was coming to her, she thought she was there to talk about staying positive as she struggles with a rare form of cancer, and to receive a few gifts. Ellen presented her with a check for $10,000, which brought tears to her eyes, but then her dream of dreams came true: Her favorite Phillies player Chase Utley came strutting out with a box full of Phillies gifts. Her reaction is priceless.

Utley gave her an open invitation to the Phillies any time she wants to come.

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